Destination in brief
Ukraine in brief
Ukraine is in Eastern Europe. Neighbors: Belarus (north), Russia (northeast, east), Moldova and Romania (south), Hungary, Slovakia, Poland (west) – Ukraine has a coast on the Black Sea (south).
Size: 603,628 km² (233,062 mi²) – Transcontinental Russia excluded, Ukraine is the largest country in Europe.
Capital city: Kiev – 3 million (metro area population)
Population: 43.8 million (2020) – 77% ethnic Ukrainian (a Slavic people), 17% ethnic Russian.
There is a 10-year gap between the life expectancy of Ukrainian men and women. The average life expectancy for Ukrainian men is just 66 years, partially due to high rates of alcoholism among them.
Ukrainians rarely smile in public. It is not because they are always in a bad mood, but because this is their way of showing respect for others and making sure they are not seen as a crazy. (At least you know that when they do smile, it is not fake.) This also means that if you keep smiling at them, they may assume that you are weird, or even freaky.
Language: Ukrainian, an East Slavic language, is the only official language. – The country’s minorities (Russian, Romanian, Polish, and Hungarian) speak their own languages as well.
Many Ukrainians speak Russian more often than Ukrainian. The two languages are more similar in writing than in their spoken form.
Ukrainian is written using the Cyrillic alphabet. It has some characters that do not exist in the Russian version of Cyrillic, and vice versa.
Religion: 75% Orthodox Christian, 23% Catholic
Political system: republic with a presidential-parliamentary system of government
Ukraine was part of the Soviet Union between 1922-1991.
The country’s relations with Russia are very tense. The Crimean peninsula, a part of Ukraine with a Russian-speaking majority population, was “taken back” by Russia in 2014.
Currency: hryvnia (UAH)
Average net monthly salary: 285 USD (2020) – 410 USD in Kiev
Most common surname: Melnik
Pornography is illegal in Ukraine, except for "medical purposes".
Safety: Although crime is on the rise, Ukraine is still a rather safe European destination, unless you venture into the war zone, which accounts for a tiny part of the country's territory in its far eastern part.
Top tourist attractions:
Saint Sophia’s Cathedral in Kiev, Kiev Pechersk Lavra (Monastery of the Caves),
The historic centers of Lviv, Chernivtsi and Pereiaslav-Khmelnytskyi
Lviv is home to 1,500 cafés, the highest number per capita of any city in the world.
Most Ukrainian girls are strikingly beautiful. Although they are naturally pretty, even without makeup, Ukrainian girls take pride in the way they present themselves, and are great at it - they never go out with dirty hair or shabby clothes. Young women are usually thin, and they often become curvier (or as Ukrainians say: “juicier”) as they get older and settle into family life.